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TV Worth Watching : Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Australia)

June 21st, 2014 1 comment

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Australia)

Miss Fisher Title

Watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix

Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries books and DVDs from Amazon.com

As Summer vacation arrives, we have had a bit more time to relax and watch a little television. Poking around in Netflix, I found Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries as a suggestion since I tend to watch lots of mysteries and police procedurals like Miss Marple, Poirot, Inspector George Gently, Endeavour and more. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in this series.

Set in Melbourne in 1928, the show is a fairly standard period detective show, but it then reaches out to address the issues of the day (and our day) like women’s rights, drug abuse, political strife and more. The acting is top notch, especially Essie Davis’ portrayal of the protagonist. The writing is also quite good, with several twists catching me off guard in the first 7 episodes we have watched.

It is refreshing to watch television from other countries and see the world through their eyes and their art. I have always loved UK television (and watch a lot of it), and it is great to see that Australia has some great, entertaining shows to offer, too. 

If you are a mystery love and looking for a good romp, you should check out Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I think you will enjoy it quite a bit.

From the ABC web site…

Get ready to immerse yourself in the opulent, exciting world of Australia’s leading lady detective Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), in ABC1’s new 13-part drama series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) is a glamorous and thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s. Our lady sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit.

Phyrne

After many years abroad, Phryne returns to Melbourne, in part to start a new life in her home town, but to also ensure that Murdoch Foyle (Nicholas Bell), the man thought to be responsible for her younger sister’s mysterious disappearance, never gets out of jail. But before her very proper Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes), a well-known society matriarch, can drag Phryne off to attend her first soiree, Phryne finds herself embroiled in a murder.

She befriends the most unlikely of murder suspects – an innocent Catholic girl, Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings). Phryne takes Dot under her wing, employing her as a maid. Over time, Dot becomes one of Phryne’s closest companions; with Dot’s natural intelligence in all things domestic and catholic she is often an unexpected asset in Phryne’s murder investigations. From illegal abortions to union disputes, exploited workers and missing girls, Phryne finds justice for those who can’t help themselves.

As she delves deeper into the murky world of murder, Phryne crosses paths with the local constabulary, befriending the handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). Despite being married, Jack finds himself drawn to Phryne’s vibrant personality and seeks to ensure that she is kept out of harm’s way as they endeavour to solve the cases.

They come to rely on each other, Jack for the information he gets through diligent police procedures, and Phryne for the information she obtains using her charms and daring. When Jack won’t give Phryne the information she needs, she can easily manipulate Jack’s trusting deputy, Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), to keep her informed even if he is not aware he is doing so. Leaving a trail of admirers in her wake, our heroine makes sure she enjoys every moment of her lucky life and along the way she unlocks the truth of her own dark history.

The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher began life in 1989 as the daring lady detective protagonist of a series of 18 crime books written by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. With an acquired taste for the best, but impeccable working-class origins, Phryne was an instant success with readers and still shows no sign of hanging up her pearl-handled pistol or giving up her ‘adventurous’ love-life for just one man.

More information on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Australia):

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TV Worth Watching: A Very British Renaissance – 1. The Renaissance Arrives

March 22nd, 2014 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


A Very British Renaissance – 1. The Renaissance Arrives

Uk reviews of this 2-part series were less than kind, but I found it fascinating. I a very familiar with the Italian Renaissance — as are most — but the state if Britain in the Renaissance is definitely a blanks spot for me. While I recognized a few names like Han Holbein, most of the people highlighted here are new to me. I have a great love for books and documentaries that focus on particular, defined pieces of history. I love going deeper into the specifics as most shows try to cover as much as possible and leave you with nothing more than a grand overview

British ren

From the BBC web site…

When most people think of the Renaissance, they don’t think of England – they think of Italy, and the talent and exuberance of Leonardo and Michelangelo creating glorious works of art.

Now, in a new series for BBC Two, Dr James Fox looks back at a forgotten British Renaissance, celebrating an age that saw Britain shed its medieval shackles and embrace a world of cutting-edge art, literature, architecture and science.

Across three episodes, James reveals the painters, sculptors, poets, thinkers and figures who, he argues, brought a bold and beautiful artistic movement to our shores between the 1500s to the start of the English civil war.

In the opening episode, James explores how the Renaissance arrived, with a handful of influential European artists bringing ideas from the continent in the early 16th century – from the inspiration of Torrigiano, who fled Florence after a fist fight with Michelangelo, to Holbein and his influence on painter John Bettes – thought to be the first English Renaissance-trained artist. Although impossible without this foreign stimulus, this renaissance quickly became quintessentially British – and it was gaining momentum.

A Very British Renaissance Episode 1

 

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TV Worth Watching: Death in Paradise – Caribbean Mystery Series

February 1st, 2014 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


Death in Paradise

I love mystery series, and I have featured many here in the TV Worth Watching series. Add one more to the list with Death in Paradise from the BBC and currently airing on KCET here in Los Angeles. It is a funny, witty, and excellently written mystery with a “fish out of water” element in the main character, a Chief Inspector with the London Metropolitan Police Force who finds himself in an island world he cannot quite comprehend. As usual, lots of of our favorite UK actors show up as guest stars in the series, which is always a treat. Former Doctor Who, Peter Davison, shows up in the current season (3) as a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who is suspected of trying to kill the star of his latest film.

Death in paradise

From KCET.org web site…

Sent to the tiny island of Saint-Marie to solve a mysterious murder, Detective Inspector Richard Poole is a total fish out of water. A quintessentially British cop, he would much prefer the London drizzle and a freshly pressed shirt to blue seas, sparkling sands and gorgeous tropical weather. This warm, light-hearted detective series takes place against a stunning Caribbean island backdrop – as far away from the grey skies of London as you could possibly get. What Richard finds is a ramshackle station and a very different type of policing. The fact that there’s a goat in one of the cells says it all. He can’t get out of there fast enough, but there’s a job to do and he does it brilliantly. His reward – a permanent posting to the island, his own personal hell on Earth. He may be stuck there, but he’s not going to let his standards slip. He’ll bring British rigor to this relaxed Caribbean workplace. Always in a suit and tie, eschewing sandals for a stout brogue, he’s the very embodiment of the Englishman abroad. He can get through his ordeal, if only he could find a decent cup of tea.

Death in Paradise – Episode 1 (YouTube)

 

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TV Worth Watching: Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve

December 28th, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve

Yet another of the great BBC Documentaries that caught my eye recently. It is so serendipitous when i find one of these. I am almost never looking, specifically, for a television show about X, Y or Z, but when it is placed in my path, I am always amazed and entertained. As a devoted viewer of UK television, I think series like these are one of the best aspects of their television system — whether publicly funded by the BBC or commercially on ITV or Channel 4.

Pilgramage reeve

Even as someone who is not very religious, the history and meaning found in pilgrimage certainly make for an enlightening and entertaining show. You can watch both episodes on YouTube below.

Description from BBC.com:

“For centuries, pilgrimage was one of the greatest adventures on Earth, involving epic journeys across the country and around the world, and new BBC Two series Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve sees Simon retrace the exciting adventures of our ancestors.

He meets inspirational modern travellers, sees extraordinary sights and learns about the forgotten aspects of pilgrimage, including the vice, thrills and danger that awaited travellers. He explores the faith, the hopes, desires, and even the food that helped to keep Medieval Britons and more recent travellers on the road.

In the first episode, Simon embarks on a 500-mile journey beginning at one of the earliest sites of Christian pilgrimage in Britain, the island of Lindisfarne. He retraces the footsteps of some of Britain’s first Christians to Canterbury who made the journey some 1,300 years ago.

Such Medieval travellers believed that journeys of endurance, suffering and sacrifice to a holy site would help them find a place in heaven. But Simon discovers the inspiration behind pilgrimage has not always been religious devotion and piety and was often a chance for long-suffering peasants to get away from a life of drudgery and explore their land.

On his way from the Holy Island in the North to the shrine of Thomas Beckett at Canterbury, Simon explores the vast network of pilgrimage sites across Britain. His first stop is to Lincoln Cathedral, then on to the remote village of Walshingham in Norfolk, where he joins thousands of people on an annual pilgrimage.

Next stop, London – once the gateway of pilgrims heading to Canterbury – and Simon discovers why so many visitors stopped at London Bridge. And for the final leg of his journey, Simon joins a group of Chaucer enthusiasts as he trails the route from London to Canterbury made famous by the Canterbury Tales.”

 

Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve Episode 1

Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve Episode 2

 

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TV Worth Watching: All Creatures Great and Small (BBC) 1978-1990

December 22nd, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


All Creatures Great and Small

We recently subscribed to Netflix for the first time and one way we tend to use it is to re-visit older series that we have enjoyed in the past. One such series is All Creature Great and Small which aired on the BBC from 1978-1990.  The show is a dramatization of the original stories by James Herriot in the book of the same name and its sequels.

All creatures

The gentleness of the the stories and characters has always attracted us to the show as well as the original books and I would highly recommend you check out the series either via Netflix or versions found on YouTube.

Description from IMDB.com

“James Herriot is a vet in Yorkshire, England, during the 1940’s. He is assigned to the practice of Siegfried Farnon, who (together with his mischievous brother Tristan) already have a successful business. James undergoes a variety of adventures during his work, which are just as often caused by the characters of the county (including the Farnon brothers) as the animals in his care.”

 

All Creatures Great & Small S1E1 Horse Sense

More information on All Creatures Great and Small :

 
Where to watch Who Were The Greeks:


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TV Worth Watching: Who were the Greeks? from the BBC

July 27th, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


TV Worth Watching: BBC Who were the Greeks? (3 episodes)

Greeks bbc

Another great documentary from the BBC on the Ancient Greeks and everything they brought to the world. This is another show for my “Own Private Master’s Degree” collection as it provides a great, overall understanding of who the Greeks were, how they lived and fought and how they fostered knowledge that we still rely on and respect today.

More information on Who Were The Greeks? :

 
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TV Worth Watching: Poirot

July 21st, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


TV Worth Watching: Poirot

Suchet poirot itv

I have been watching Poirot since its launch in 1988 and have loved David Suchet’s portrayal of the “fussy, little Belgian detective.” The series has consistently drawn me back again and again over the years. I have found Suchet’s portrayal to be excellent and enjoyable in every way. He is exactly what I think of when I read the original Poirot stories.

Today’s post in TV Worth Watching is driven by this article from the Los Angeles Time detailing the final series of Poirot, which marks Suchet’s recording of the entire Poirot canon of stories. 

David Suchet bids farewell to Agatha Christie’s Poirot

David Suchet, who has played Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot on TV for the last 25 years, completes his run — and the character’s canon.

GALMPTON, England — The final push to the top of his personal Everest consisted of about 50 dainty steps, in the precise and idiosyncratic gait he has perfected over 25 years.

David Suchet paced up to the door of the house, glanced around, gave a tip of his hat and the ghost of a smile, and disappeared inside. When the cameras stopped rolling, he emerged and raised his arms in triumph as a crew member called a wrap on one of the most remarkable achievements in recent British television history.

Read the entire article

Of course, the best thing about television and movies is that, barring any great disasters, we will always have our favorite shows to revisit through the years. In fact, I have recently been watching some older Poirot episodes since the current series has been a long time coming.

You can watch Poirot on PBS in the US and it is also available on many video on demand services (see links below)

Complete first episode from this final season of Poirot

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TV Worth Watching: Shock and Awe – The Story of Electricity

June 22nd, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas


TV Worth Watching: Shock and Awe – The Story of Electricity

Another amazing BBC science documentary. I consider shows like this My Own Personal Master’s Degree. I am very self-directed in my education and shows like this can help expand my knowledge greatly. I also love science, so I tend to “geek out” on shows like this when I find them. I most love the combination of history and science that these documentary’s provide. I think it is a great way to explore a subject deeply, but in ways that the average person can understand.

This 3-part series covers the history of our discovery and taming of electricity and how it has deeply and dramatically effected human life.

Shock awe

Watch “Shock and Awe – The story of Electricity – Episode 1” on YouTube

From the BBC 4 Web Site…

Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature’s most mysterious force – electricity. Until fairly recently, electricity was seen as a magical power, but it is now the lifeblood of the modern world and underpins every aspect of our technological advancements.

Without electricity, we would be lost. This series tells of dazzling leaps of imagination and extraordinary experiments – a story of maverick geniuses who used electricity to light our cities, to communicate across the seas and through the air, to create modern industry and to give us the digital revolution.

Episode one tells the story of the very first ‘natural philosophers’ who started to unlock the mysteries of electricity. They studied its curious link to life, built strange and powerful instruments to create it and even tamed lightning itself. It was these men who truly laid the foundations of the modern world. Electricity was without doubt a fantastical wonder. This is the story about what happened when the first real concerted effort was made to understand electricity; how we learned to create and store it, before finally creating something that enabled us to make it at will – the battery.” — BBC

More information on Shock and Awe – The Story of Electricity :

 
My Own Personal Master’s Degree Playlist
 

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TV Worth Watching: Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England

June 15th, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas

TV Worth Watching: Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England 

What would you need to know if you were time traveling back to Elizabethan England? What would you need to learn to move among the poor, the rich and the up-and-comers in 16 Century Society. Learn it all in this excellent documentary series with Ian Mortimer, writer of the books of the same name.

I love series like this. They are given the time to fully explore a period of history or a section of science or the arts without ignoring huge swathes of history or important information. I am alway keeping watch for new, similar documentaries from the BBC. They rarely fail to entertain as well as inform.

time-traveller-guide

Watch “Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England Episode 1” directly on YouTube

“Ian Mortimer transports viewers back to Elizabethan England and reveals, in vivid detail, a living, breathing Tudor world. Viewers learn how ordinary Tudor housewives turned plants into medicine, how the middle classes kept themselves clean using linen cloths, how the poor made pottage, how cooks of the rich devised recipes for new ingredients, and how Tudors learned to read and write.” — BBC

From Amazon.com…

From the author of one of the biggest-selling history books of recent years, the follow-up to The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England. The past is a foreign country — this is your guide.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as ‘Gloriana’: the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?

In this book Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England would ask. Applying the groundbreaking approach he pioneered in his bestselling Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, the Elizabethan world unfolds around the reader.” – Amazon.com

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TV Worth Watching: Mechanical Marvels Clockwork Dreams from the BBC

June 8th, 2013 Comments off

TV Worth Watching is a new series highlighting my favorite television viewing. I am a big fan of UK television, so you are sure to see many UK shows and movies featured here. — Douglas

TV Worth Watching: Mechanical Marvels Clockwork Dreams

Another amazing documentary from the BBC which explains how innovations in clockwork led to more and more lifelike automata designed for the entertainment of the rich in the early 18th Century. I am always amazed at the quality of these BBC Documentaries and how much I learn with each one. I have had the pleasure, in the past, to see some amazing automata at a performance at the Magic Castle and I have always been fascinated with them and amazed at how complex these devices could be, especially considering that most of them were made long before what we think of as “technology” even existed. 

Mech marvels

Watch “Mechanical Marvels Clockwork Dreams” directly on YouTube

“Documentary presented by Professor Simon Schaffer which charts the amazing and untold story of automata – extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life.

The film brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess. All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today.” — BBC

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